More often than not, when people see others yawning, they find themselves yawning as well. This phenomenon is known as social yawning and it involves a deeper set of emotions. Yawning in this scenario reflects a person’s empathy for another. Such instinctual display of empathy usually strengthens the social group and the relationship among individuals. However, recent research shows that contagious yawning is not always the case for people on the autism spectrum (ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Research offers many explanations for the deficiency to perceive emotions typical for the ASD population. The most dominant one is that autistic children tend to confuse the expressions being displayed and therefore find it difficult to interpret them successfully.